On February 8th two adult elk were shot in Shannon County. One was a ten-year-old bull, brought to Missouri from Kentucky, and the other was an adult cow, born and raised in Missouri. The animals were unharmed, besides being dead — there were no parts of either animal removed.
Last week two more elk were shot and killed in Shannon County Missouri. Shannon County has been hard at work to restore the elk population for the past several years. In 2011 the elk population of Missouri officially began the process of restoration, and since then there have been five known elk poaching incidents.
The poachings in Missouri also include an adult bull in December of 2015, a two-month-old calf in August of 2018, and a bull calf this past January.
Although most of the incidents leave the elk untouched where it died, in the 2015 case, the poachers cut the bull’s antlers off before leaving it in the woods.
MDC’s Protection Division Chief Randy Doman said that it is important to understand that poaching is not hunting and poachers are not hunters. “It appears these poachers simply wanted to shoot elk for fun or out of spite, and that’s abhorrent,”  said Doman.
In the past eight years, Missouri and Shannon County have been working hard to bring back the elk population. The elk not only increases tourism to Shannon County but they also stimulate economic growth. In 2016 Peck Ranch and Current River conservation surveys determined that the elk brought in almost $1.3 million in increased economic activity.
“The restoration of elk is appreciated by many people, businesses and organizations in the area,” Doman said. “The citizens here take great pride in their hunting traditions and their wildlife resources. A healthy, growing elk population brings significant economic and cultural benefits to these communities, and the senseless waste of the people’s resources should not be tolerated.”
The Missouri Department of Conservation had announced in 2018 that plans for an elk hunting season were being made. However, with elk dying to poachers, MDC might change their plans regarding elk hunting season.
- ^“MDC seeks information in poaching case of two adult elk.” Missouri Department of Conservation, 18 Feb. 2019, mdc.mo.gov/newsroom/mdc-seeks-information-poaching-case-two-adult-elk. (go back↩)